Six members of the Boundary 4-H Ranch Horse Club met at the Fossen Ranch above Rock Creek on Saturday morning to get some practical experience in handling cattle.
They gathered 35 cow-calf pairs from pasture and brought them into the corral. Then they used their horses to separate the calves from the cows. They then ran the calves through the chute and used a tipping table to brand, dehorn and give them a shot. The shot is an eight-way vaccine – tetanus, blackleg, diphtheria, etc.
Each calf also got a Canadian Cattle Identification Agency ear tag. When they leave the ranch they have to be wearing a tag so each animal can be traced back to the ranch where it was born.
“The ear tags also register a birthdate,” explained club leader Doug Fossen. “Some export markets are age specific so it is very important to have that information recorded.”
Fossen said this is the third year of Ranch Horse 4-H in the Boundary Multi-Club. “There is Ranch Horse 4-H down in the U.S. and in Saskatchewan and Alberta. But this is the only Ranch Horse 4-H Club in B.C.
“It teaches the kids how to handle livestock properly – at a nice slow pace. Each one of these calves could be worth $900 to $1,000 in the fall, so we want to be very careful with them. They are fragile and we want to look after them.”
Each calf was given the Bar-7 brand. “In B.C. a brand is the only legal proof of ownership,” Fossen explained. “So that’s why we still brand, when they are scattered over 70,000 acres of range we want to be able to prove they are ours and get them home in the fall.”
The Ranch Horse 4-H club has eight members all together, ranging in age from 9 to 14.